Fess Parker

2005 Chardonnay, Ashley’s Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Fess Parker, 14.6%
The Ashley’s Vineyard is a 620 acre ranch, named after Fess Parker’s daughter, and lies just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean, which makes it the western-most vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills appellation.  By grape growing standards, Ashley’s Vineyard is particularly cold: its 190 acres are planted mainly with pinot noir, but also with some chardonnay (15 acres), pinot blanc (13 acres) and pinot gris (12 acres).
A really lemon zesty, über minerally nose.  Quite a zing of lemon and apples flavours on the attack.  This is really open and attractive on the palate, with a nice fragrance.  Good balance and great length.  Very Good Indeed.  91/100

2005 Viognier Rodney’s Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, Fess Parker, 14.9%
Rodney’s Vineyard is the estate vineyard at Fess Parker, and is named after Fess Parker’s late son-in-law, Rodney Shull: it extends to some 118 acres, planted more or less equally with syrah, viognier and chardonnay, with 12 acres of petite sirah and 8 acres of grenache.  224 cases were produced of this wine, which was barrel fermented and then aged in stainless steel for six months, before going into French oak for a further six months.
It has a very floral nose with huge minerality.  Lovely palate, with very good balance and a nice level of acidity to cut the intensity of the fruit.  Super length.  Pretty impressive.  Very Good Indeed.  90/100

2005 White riesling, Santa Barbara County, Fess Parker, 12.5%
The fruit for this comes from a variety of sources: 44% from the Camp 4 vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley, 21% from the Rodney’s Vineyard, 19% from Scheid Vineyard, 15% Rancho Sisquoc, 9% Mission Meadows and 3% from the Koehler Vineyard.  It is entirely fermented and aged in stainless steel.  14,407 cases were produced.
It has a floral, limey nose, with some lychee fruit.  It’s a touch sweet on the palate (there’s 3.39% residual sugar), which rather hides any elegance it might have.  The riesling character, however, does come through, especially on the finish.  Good/Very Good.  83/100

2005 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County, 15.2%
The fruit for this comes mainly from the Ashley’s Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills, with 26% coming from the Bien Nacido Vineyard and 1% from the Byron Vineyard, both up in the Santa Maria Valley.  The wine was aged for eleven months in one-third new French oak.  16,664 cases were produced.
It has elegant red fruits on the nose with the merest hint of sous bois.  Good, characterful attack.  There’s nice balance.  This is very attractive with a nice gentle structure, but it has a masculine feel overall.  Fairly impressive.  Very Good Indeed.  90/100

2003 Syrah, Santa Barbara County, Fess Parker, 15.6%
This is 90% syrah, 75 petite sirah and 3% viognier.  42% of the fruit came from the Rodney’s Vineyard; the bulk of the remainder from various vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley, with 8% from the French Camp Vineyard in Paso Robles and 7% from Marcella’s Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley.  It was aged for 20 months in 30% new French oak.  5064 cases were produced.
This has elegant black fruit on the nose, which is also quite gamey with some bresaola notes.  A good, elegant palate, and it carries the alcohol exceedingly well, with no noticeable heat: instead there’s a very nice balance.  Impressive.  Very Good Indeed.  92/100

2002 Syrah Mackie’s Blend, Central Coast, Fess Parker, 14.9%
This is 100% syrah, mainly from the Rodney’s, Hampton and Camp 4 vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley, 10% from Marcella’s Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley and 6% from the French Camp Vineyard in Paso Robles.  Aged for 26 months in 1/3 new French oak; 625 cases were produced.
It has quite a fragrant nose, with some meaty chocolate notes.  Very deep on the palate: quite full with a pretty big tannic structure.  It seems more straightforward and less characterful than the Santa Barbara Syrah.  Very Good.  87/100

NV Traditions, Port Style Red Wine, Santa Barbara County, Fess Parker, 18.9%
This is a blend of touriga nacional and tinta cao.  It has a black plummy nose with some figs, prunes and a hint of chocolate.  It’s very velvety and caressing in the mouth, with a nice balance of light fruit and the sweetness.  Some spirit becomes evident towards the finish.  Pretty impressive.  89/100


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Last updated: 3 January 2008